Posted on December 24, 2014 @ 07:22:00 AM by Paul Meagher
When I take the time to get out for a walk in a forest, I often have to pause while I notice how easy it is to breathe, how clear
my nostils and chest feels. Walking through a forest gets the body working and helps clear passage ways, but over and above that I'm
pretty sure the forest is helping because of the higher oxygen content of the air, as well as a nice humidity. If you are walking
through the forest near a stream, then you might even be getting higher doses of oxygen in each breathe you take as dissolved oxygen
is released in the stream bubbles.
In areas where forest and stream meet, there is an especially high concentration of negative ions. Exposure to negative ions has
some mood altering effects so one form of therapy for people with negative affect is to spend time in the forest. Here is some
info on what negative ions are and their health benefits.
So here are two potentially powerful reasons for spending a bit of time in the woods over the holidays if you can arrange it.
My own view is that the negative ions are a more hypothetical benefit, but the air quality part is not. If you don't believe me,
just go for a forest walk and evaluate the quality of the air. How moist is the air? Do you feel more alert than usual? How
do your lungs and passageways feel?
Another fun and useful thing to do while you are ambling through the forest understory is to measure wind direction with your
face. Feel the air as it presses your face from many directions at the same time. From this mass of air pressures, try to assign it
a direction. Not necessarily a direction as in east, west, north, and south, but where is it flowing from and to in the landscape.
You can use this information to help read a landscape, to understand, for example, why snow tends to accumulate on the forest floor
in the pattern that is does.
May you all have a merry holiday season and I hope you get a chance to inhale some forest air over the holidays. May you enjoy the grace of the forests now and in the new year.
Some Cattails I encountered this morning in my walk.